Overview

Flach's work is exclusively focused on animals, ranging widely across species but united by a distinctive style that is derived from his concerns with anthropomorphism and anthropocentrism. His interests lie in the way "We shape animals, and we shape their meaning. Whether genetically, as with the featherless chicken of my photograph, or with the symbolism that gives a special significance to a dove but dismisses a London pigeon as a flying rat." He states that his images "aim to illuminate the relationships between human and animals, to make an enquiry into how these relationships occupy the anthropocentric space within the contexts of ethics, history, science and politics."

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Biography

"In the simplest sense, I enjoy the controlled chaos of shooting animals. I am also interested in the perceptual divide between sentient beings. There is a sense of awe and wonderment and there is always an uncertainty about what will reveal itself on set. I like to encourage thoughts about how we see each other."

Tim Flach is one of the world’s foremost animal photographers, his technical expertise and innovative intellectual approach helping define the way images are made in this arena. Born in 1958 in London, he published his first monograph, Equus, in 2008, an acclaimed study of horses and our relationship with them. This book was followed by six more monographs to date – Dogs (2010), More Than Human (2012), Evolution (2013), Endangered (2017), Who Am I? (2019), and Birds (2021). His next project will be a study of insects.
As the world faces its sixth mass extinction, also known as the Anthropocene extinction, Flach’s images communicate an urgent ecological message into the cultural sphere. Eschewing romantic fantasies of traditional wildlife photography, they emphasise connection with other creatures in a bid to engage viewers and move them into making the necessary changes to government policy and their own behaviour. Flach’s photographs have been exhibited at prominent galleries and museums worldwide. Endangered, a powerful record of species on the edge of extinction, was shown at the Museum national d'histoire naturelle, Paris in 2021 and the State Gallery of Art, Hyderabad in 2019, for example; Flach has also had solo shows in venues such as the Beijing Museum of Natural History and Lumiere Brothers Gallery in Moscow. His images are held in permanent collections such as theV&A Museum and Swedish Museum of Natural History.
Since the beginning of his career, Flach has contributed to academic research into how photographs of animals impact on their audiences. In 2020 he published a study with two social scientists, Professors Cameron Thomas Whitley and Linda Kalof, which used empirical evidence to show that anthropomorphic animal portraits promote empathy. Flach has been invited to speak at conferences such as The Zoological Society of London and St Petersburg International Economic Forum, and has lectured at universities worldwide. He has also contributed to books and group projects, including Surveying the Anthropocene: Environment and Photography Now, which was published by Edinburgh University Press in 2021, and A Cabinet of Curiosities for the Anthropocene, published by Chicago Press in 2018. Tim Flach graduated from St Martins College in 1982; in 2013, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the University of the Arts, London. 

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